Thursday, January 27, 2011


IMG_4574The coloured pencils came out this week as I pondered how to quilt the 3 tops and the table runner that are waiting in the queue.  My leaf quilt is waiting to be hand quilted but as I am actively hand quilting my Hawaiian quilt pillow top I’m OK with the leaf quilt waiting a little longer.  The other two (the swap quilt and the Christmas quilt) are stifling my creativity.  I’m feeling that I shouldn’t just add new tops to the unquilted pile.  I can’t bring myself to start anything else, but I’m grumpy.  It’s just time to get those tops quilted!
I’m working up my courage to freemotion these tops.  I have been practicing on small quilt sandwiches.  My stitch length is all over the map, but at least stitches aren’t skipping anymore and I think my tension is pretty good.
A couple of days ago I decided I should take a deep breath, move on from practice sandwiches and quilt the twister table runner.  I promptly sat down and stared at it for over an hour, having absolutely no idea what design I wanted to quilt on it, beyond knowing I didn’t want an all-over design.  That evening I drew the runner in MS Publisher. I’m sure EQ would have been more efficient but I don’t have that software!  I printed out a few copies and started coloring and doodling.  Here’s what I came up with:
Fruit table runner motif Whether or not I have the skill to actually quilt this remains to be seen.  I haven’t have time to try it out yet.  It’s on tomorrow’s “to do” list though.
Thinking positively, I decided that I should plan a quilting design for the Christmas quilt as well so I’ll be ready to go with that when I successfully finish the runner.  I’m afraid my design is a little ambitious – I don’t have nearly enough control yet to consistently make these curves and make everything cross tidily in the middle as it should.  I like the design though so I’m going to be drawing grids on practice sandwiches and going over and over the design until it seems half-decent. 
Christmas quilt motif layout detail
At least I’m confident I can quilt the straight diagonals!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Every day this week I've woken up thinking this would be the day I'd have time to get things done in the sewing department, and every day it hasn't happened.  When there's no milk or veggies left in the fridge it's time to do groceries, and when there are no more clean socks, that's my cue to get around to laundry.  Let’s not talk about the state of the bathroom...and will you look at the time, it's time to run to school and collect the kids...  In a nutshell, the things I was waiting to finish before writing a post aren't done.
However, I did make progress on various projects last weekend.  First up, the socks.IMG_4559_r1 I finished them Sunday night and they’ve been worn to school already.  I could probably have made them a touch longer in the foot.  I’ll know for the next pair.  They really were not as difficult to knit as I’d imagined.  I’d always heard about the dreaded “turning the heel”, but the pattern instructions were very clear and easy to follow.  Isn’t the internet great?
Next up, remember this quilt? It has been waiting a while for the promised borders and prairie points.
i I It acquired 3-inch borders on the weekend but is still waiting for the points.  I used the method that yields a continuous string of prairie points instead of having to make and place each one individually.  I was quite pleased with my string of points.IMG_4547

These are made from 3” squares.  They looked great on their own, but I’m glad I set this strip on the quilt before making the strips for the remaining three sides.  The scale was all wrong!

It looks like little saw teeth or a pinked edge, not quite what I envisioned.  After a moment or two of dejection, I regrouped and cut a few squares to audition point sizes, which I suppose I should have done in the first place!  I settled on points made from 4-inch squares.  I also decided that with the continuous prairie points method the points end up overlapping more than I like for this particular quilt, so I’m making the 100 points individually after all so that I can adjust the overlap.  I’m glad I had enough fabric left to start over in a new size.
Once the points are on (hopefully tomorrow?) this quilt will be ready to baste and quilt.  I want to machine quilt it, so I need to practice.  I know I’ve said that before, but really, I’ve now taken concrete steps towards practicing. Here’s the last project I completed on the weekend:
I cut a stack of batting and fabric to make practice quilt sandwiches.  Now I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have sandwich fixings to grab when I have 10 spare minutes to practice.  Yup, I’ll be practicing any minute now, if I can just pull myself away from blogs…
One last thing.  Last night I just needed to FINISH something, so I made a cute little wallet from a pattern I got for my birthday.  This only took about 30 minutes to make. It still needs a snap closure, which I didn’t have on hand, but I’m counting it as a finish anyway.IMG_4556

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finally a little bit of piecing

fruit twist runnerYesterday I finally sat down at the machine to do a bit of piecing.  It was extra-fun because I used an early birthday present my in-laws gave me when they were down at Thanksgiving.  My birthday isn’t until this month but they didn’t insist that I wait till the actual day to use what I picked out.  In the end I didn’t have time to play with it until almost the birthday anyway, but I savored the anticipation.
I used my new Lil’Twister tool to piece this table runner.  To use the tool you start by sewing together 5” squares of fabric and adding a 3“ border all around.  It feels like you have a quilt just about ready to go, complete with borders, but then you use the Lil’Twister template to cut it all up again. It does create a lot of scraps, but I’ll find a use for them.
I had made a small sample to help me get my brain around how the squares translate into pinwheels so I could figure out how to arrange my squares to get the pinwheels in the arrangement I wanted.  The sample block below (which was a little rumpled when I took the picture) was made with four fabrics in a plain four-patch with a black border.  There isn’t any border added to the final block.  The pinwheels just float on whichever fabric borders the squares.
To get the individual pinwheels to float on a background instead of interlocking with each other as in the sample block, I had to piece a checkerboard instead.

I’m pleased to finally almost have a runner to match the placemats I made with these fruit fabrics a couple of years ago.  The leftover fabric was waiting for just the right pattern.  Now I just have to machine quilt it, which means I need to start practicing.  Yes, piecing this was just an exercise in procrastinating on learning to freemotion quilt!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Again, not a quilt…

but it did involve playing with fabric!  I updated my daughter’s lamp to better reflect her current tastes in colour.  When she was 4 years old, and for several years after, she was all about pink – the cotton candy, bubble gum pink variety.  In the last year or so she has shifted to more vibrant colours.

IMG_4537_r1 Back in the mists of time when this lamp was in my room it had a green base like you see at left, and a plain white shade.  There were twin lamps.  6 years ago one was adorned with green trim and bright buttons for my son’s room, and the other with the requested pink and flowers.






Yesterday I spent a lot longer than I expected changing the pink to blue.  Son is still happy with the green.


My daughter chose the fabric.  While I loved it, I was a bit skeptical about how it would look as bias binding wrapped around and around.  I stand corrected.  My daughter “did good”!